Existing Ligue Européenne de Natation (LEN) President, Paolo Barelli, is set to be challenged by a Dutchman to maintain his role as head of the European Swimming Federation.
According to Inside the Games, Royal Dutch Swimming Federation (KNZB) President Erik van Heijningen is set to take on the Italian Barelli at May’s Congress session in London. A member of the LEN-Bureau since 2006, van Heijningen has been in a Vice President role since 2008. Van Heijningen was the acting Chairman of the FINA Doping Panel from 2009 to 2013 and is a member of the Executive Board of the Province of South-Holland in his non-swim-related professional life.
Many in the swim community credit van Heijningen with KNZB’s success, stating the 54-year-old “kept membership to all-time high levels, doubled revenues and professionalising staff as well as implemented modern governance initiatives”.
Van Heijningen told Inside the Games of his vying for Presidency that, “the time is right for change and that he is confident of success. After years of trying to bring about changes at LEN ‘from within’, he claims to have realised that vying for the top job is the only way to truly make a difference.”
Incumbent Barelli was elected to the role of President in 2012, thus his four-year term is set to end this year. Last year, within the scope of his position as President of the Italian Swimming Federation (FIN) Barelli was caught up in fraud allegations by his nation’s Olympic Committee. Reports circulated that the swimming federation received roughly $1 million that was intended to be spent on the 2009 World Championships pool, yet the funds were unaccounted for by FIN.
The LEN Congress session at which the new President will be elected is slated for May 8, 2016.